Batwoman: How Queer Everything Is Today!

"She doesn't see a sister – she sees a soul in need of saving."

When the multiverse dust settles, Kate finds herself back in Gotham – with Alice pouring tea on Catherine's grave, a father in jail, a sister in crisis, and seriously unwanted media attention.

I am often weirded out by Alice's vibe. She opens this episode by pouring tea on Catherine Hamilton's grave in yet another mad tea party. This is a known killer basically just hanging out in the open, talking about killing in what looks like a fairly loud voice, enough for Mary to basically know right away (or has law and order broken down so badly in Gotham that people are just watching criminals and doing nothing?) Or worse: she. Just. Doesn't. Care. Which makes her more dangerous. This opening brings Alice up to Joker level for me.

This episode picks up right after the previous two. Mary is recovering from her grief at witnessing and failing to prevent her mother's death. I mean, that's the kind of grief which started Alice on a journey of her own, so maybe we should be worried. Jacob Kane is still in jail, looking more attractive and inscrutable as ever, framed by Mouse with a fake face. And Kate, the Bat of the Future, is joyriding, 'cause her birthday's coming up.



Amid all of this a new situation rises in Gotham: a hijacked subway train and a terrier terrorist. While in the middle of rescuing this train, Kate turns briefly into the near-victim of the future when a grappling hook goes awry. Social media is ready, and Batwoman gets Instagrammed with a hot, muscular cop, named, of all things, Slam Bradley. Who happens to be Mr. March in the Men of GCPD calendar. Who of course gets all the attention, even though Batwoman just saved a train full of people with a grappling hook and her motorcycle. (Of course it's impossible. It's comic book world!)

Where does Kate end and Batwoman begin? I think identity's the big question this episode is trying to address. Kate's clearly uncomfortable with the idea that Batwoman gives off straight vibes. She spends most of the episode thinking about this instead of her father being in jail or Mary doing a whole Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor, contacting everyone and everything to get her father out and rebuild the shambles which is her life. I felt for Mary – she's frustrated, sad, grieving and angry all at once, she's lost her father as well as her mother, and even her imprisoned Dad notices she's not resolving her feelings. Sophie, who is clearly walking a fine edge herself, is the only one supporting her semi-adopted sister; Mary cannot trust Kate knowing how Kate has supported and enabled Alice in her quest to get Beth back.

When Kate is confronted by Parker Torres, the student behind the Terrier terrorism and directly responsible for the train, there's a lot of melodrama. I think, however, every minute of it is worth it. There was a lot of internet blowback about this scene, about how this is turning into "Gaytham" just because this episode focused on how horrible being outed can be – and how important role models are. Kate has to decide if her own safety is worth not having or being that role model. On a deeper level, I think she even feels complicit in Terrier terrorism – after all, look at poor Parker, thinking nobody could understand her. When they're brought together again by Alice, and Kate is unmasked, we get a very instant karmic payoff. I didn't predict that Kate's mask would come off, nor that Parker would be a hero – but the two of them manage to pull off a social media shell game, and Kate gets to save the day.

Where the episode works best for me is in realizing what Kate means for the city, for Parker, for all the people yelling and screaming to bring back the Batlight. There's some serious joy with a vigilante back in town.

Where the episode fails is in some misfires in connections and consequences. It seemed weird to me that Kate was so focused on image right now, when she should be dealing with her father in jail (Mary seems to be doing a better job of being in touch and being encouraging.) It also seemed weird to me that Parker gets off without even a slap on the wrist – although I guess being tied up and manipulated by Alice, and helping Kate get out of a bad situation, and the realization that Parker herself was on the train and never meant for the incident to be deadly, were all helpful.

The final scene of the episode, though, is a serious kicker. Which leads us back to a question – phrased somewhat cryptically so those reading this review still have a surprise in store. Is this a soul in need of saving, or a sister?

Essence of Bat

Luke: Now at his rate of speed and taking into consideration the rush hour passenger weight on a 650-volt, 3-rail system, they've got a half mile of track before they get to the end of the line. You didn't hear a word I just said, did you?
Kate: I love this bike!
Luke: Figured you couldn't have exactly the same ride as Kate Kane.
Kate: Agreed, but it's not my birthday for two days.
Luke: Birthday?
Kate: You had no idea.

Bataranged

Throughout the episode there's little hints about how we're all in the same Universe now. Metropolis was mentioned, and so was Kate being a paragon. It's nice that it wasn't just a one-off and they're truly working through integrating these events with the series.

I love how Kate turns off the light, finds the scrambler – it was a totally Bat moment.

Ever since an attack by the Scarecrow, the Gotham subway trains have moved to an analogue system. They're theoretically unhackable.

I really love the growing relationship between Luke and Kate. At the end of the episode, Luke acts like he knew exactly what Kate's decision would be in terms of 'coming out' to Gotham – and he's ready to be there for her and gets how much it means.

Overall

A fantastic and touching episode, though it doesn't quite reach 'poignant.' Four out of five Batcycles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is Kate a paragon though? A paragon who lets dangerous criminal goes free just because she's her sister? Batman as least captures Joker and locks him away.